Top 15 Highest Paying Accounting Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Joe McGoldrick
February 8, 2024 · 13 min read

Discover the top 15 highest paying accounting jobs for 2024, including salaries and job opportunities. Find the best accounting career for you!

What comes to mind when you think of accountants? Boring little people with grey suits crunching numbers, making sure that their debits and credits match up so that they can balance the books. That was the case quite some years ago, but the life and the world of an accountant has changed dramatically in the last five to ten years.

Today the modern accountant with an accounting degree plays a pivotal role in navigating the complex financial landscape of today's business environment. Beyond traditional number-crunching tasks, these fine men and women now leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation to streamline processes, enhance accuracy, and provide valuable insights.

With a focus on data analysis and interpretation, modern accountants contribute to strategic decision-making by offering comprehensive financial perspectives, and with that they can find themselves in the top 10 highest paying accounting jobs such as a financial advisor, personal financial advisor, or tax accountant, with a very healthy average salary per year as accounting is one of the highest paying industries.

Additionally, they play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with ever-evolving regulations and standards, mitigating financial risks, and optimizing resource allocation.

As business dynamics continue to evolve, the modern accountant in the accounting industry adapts by embracing technology, staying abreast of industry trends, and cultivating a holistic understanding of the financial ecosystem be it in accounting or finance.

Top 15 Highest Paying Accounting Jobs (Inc Salaries)

1. Senior Bookkeeper

A Senior Bookkeeper is an experienced professional responsible for managing and overseeing the financial records and transactions of a business. Their primary role involves maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records, including recording income and expenses, reconciling accounts including accounts payable and accounts receivable, and producing financial statements.

Typically Senior Bookkeepers have a strong understanding of accounting principles, financial regulations, and relevant software tools, and may also be involved in decision-making processes related to financial strategies and budgeting.

The average annual salary for a Senior Bookkeeper in the US is $49,180.

2. Auditor

An Auditor is a professional who examines and evaluates financial information to ensure its accuracy, completeness, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and their primary goal is to provide an independent and objective assessment of an organization's financial statements and internal controls.

Typically Auditors tend to work in public accounting firms, where they conduct audits for a variety of clients, or they may be employed internally by organizations to perform internal audits.

The average annual salary for an Auditor in the US is $64,194

3. Management Accountant

A Management Accountant, often referred to as a Cost, Managerial, Corporate, or Private Accountant, is a professional who works in the accounting field and specializes in the field of management accounting, and their primary focus is on providing financial information and analysis to help internal management make informed business decisions.

Typically, Management Accountants play a crucial role in helping organizations achieve their financial and strategic objectives by working closely with other departments, providing financial expertise and collaborating with executives to ensure that financial considerations are taken into account in decision-making processes.

The average annual salary for a Management Accountant in the US is $74,824.

4. Financial Analyst

A Financial Analyst is a professional with experience in financial analysis who examines financial data, analyzes trends, and provides insights to help businesses and individuals make informed investment or financial decisions.

Typically Financial Analysts work in various industries, such as banking, investment firms, corporations, government agencies, and consulting firms where their primary goal is to assess the financial health of an entity and offer recommendations based on their analysis. They have also been known to specialize in areas such as investment analysis, risk management, portfolio management, or corporate finance and use various tools, software, and financial models to perform their analyses.

The average annual salary for a Financial Analyst in the US is $65,476.

5. Payroll Manager

A Payroll Manager is pretty much what it says on the tin. They are professionals responsible for overseeing and managing the payroll function within an organization, and their primary role revolves around ensuring accurate and timely processing of employee compensation, including wages, salaries, bonuses, and deductions.

This position is crucial for maintaining compliance with tax laws, labor regulations, and internal policies related to payroll.

The average annual salary for a Payroll Manager in the US is $117,479.

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6. Tax Consultant

A Tax Consultant is a professional who has enough experience to provide expert advice and assistance on tax-related matters to individuals, businesses, or organizations, and their primary focus is to help clients navigate complex tax laws, minimize tax liabilities, and ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

Typically these skilled individuals, who can be international tax managers, may work independently or as part of a tax consulting firm.

The average annual salary for a Tax Consultant in the US is $68,416.

7. Economist

An Economist is a professional who studies, analyzes, and interprets economic data and trends in large companies to understand and explain how economies function. They use their expertise, degree in business, and strong communication skills to provide insights into various economic issues, such as inflation, unemployment, trade, and government policies, and often work in academia, government, research institutions, international organizations, or the private sector.

Many Economists have been known to specialize in various subfields, such as macroeconomics (study of the economy as a whole), microeconomics (study of individual markets and behaviors), labor economics, environmental economics, international economics, and more.

The average annual salary for an Economist in the US is $95,155.

8. Chartered Accountant

A Chartered Accountant (CA) is a professional accountant with a massive amount of knowledge of accounting who has earned a degree through a recognized professional accountancy body.

CA's are highly qualified and specialized professionals who have completed the necessary education, training, and examinations to provide a range of accounting and financial services. The term "Chartered Accountant" is widely used in many countries around the world, and the qualifications and requirements may vary by jurisdiction. In some countries, the equivalent term might be Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The average annual salary for a Chartered Accountant in the US is $109,901.

9. Investment Consultant 

An Investment Consultant is a professional who provides expert advice and guidance on investment-related matters to individuals, businesses, or institutions, and their primary goal is to help clients make informed decisions about managing their financial assets, achieving their financial goals, and navigating the complexities of the financial markets.

The specific services provided by Investment Consultants can vary, and their role may encompass a wide range of financial advisory services tailored to the unique needs of their clients.

The average annual salary for an Investment Consultant in the US is $80,212.

10. Portfolio Manager

A Portfolio Manager is a financial professional responsible for making investment decisions and managing investment portfolios on behalf of clients who may be individual investors, institutional investors, pension funds, or other entities seeking to grow their wealth or achieve specific financial objectives.

Their primary goal is to create and manage investment portfolios that align with clients' goals, risk tolerance, and overall investment strategies and may work for investment management firms, mutual funds, hedge funds, banks, or other financial institutions.

The average annual salary for a Portfolio Manager in the US is $116,920

11. Forensic Accountant

A Forensic Accountant is an accounting specialist who applies investigative and auditing skills to analyze financial information, detect fraud, and provide support for legal proceedings.

They are often involved in forensic accounting situations where financial misconduct, fraud, or legal disputes are suspected, and their work is crucial in uncovering financial irregularities and providing evidence for legal cases. More often than not, Forensic Accountants often work closely with law enforcement agencies, lawyers, corporate entities, government agencies, and other organizations.

The average annual salary for a Forensic Accountant in the US is $77,286

12. Financial Controller

A Financial Controller is a senior-level financial professional with a degree in accounting or finance responsible for overseeing the accounting and financial reporting functions within an organization. Their role typically exists within the finance department and involves managing the day-to-day financial operations, ensuring compliance with accounting standards, and providing financial information to support decision-making by senior management.

Typically they play a crucial role in maintaining the financial health and integrity of an organization, and often report to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and work closely with other senior executives. The specific duties and level of responsibility associated with the Financial Controller role can vary based on the size and structure of the organization.

The average annual salary for a Financial Controller in the US is $250,900.

13. Financial Director

A Financial Director, often referred to as Finance Director, is a senior executive with a degree in accounting or a related field who is responsible for overseeing the financial operations and strategies of a company or organization. This role is critical in shaping and executing financial plans, ensuring compliance with financial regulations, and providing strategic financial guidance to support the overall goals of the organization.

Typically these highly-skilled individuals occupy a top-level position within the finance department and report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). They tend to be well paid because the role is crucial for the financial health and success of an organization.

The average annual salary for a Financial Director in the US is $196,105.

14. Chief Financial Officer

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a high-ranking executive responsible for overseeing the financial activities and strategies of a company or organization, and play a key role in shaping the financial direction of the business.

As a member of the executive leadership team, they work closely with other executives and departments to ensure financial health and alignment with the overall goals of the organization, and typically report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The average annual salary for a Chief Financial Officer in the US is $436,616 and is arguably one of the highest paying jobs in accounting.

15. Vice President of Finance

A Vice President of Finance (VP of Finance) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing the financial activities and functions within a company or organization.

Their typically report to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or another top executive, and play a key role in shaping and executing financial strategies to support the overall goals of the organization. The specific duties and responsibilities of a VP of Finance may vary depending on the size and industry of the organization.

The average annual salary for a Vice President of Finance in the US is $234,550 and is definitely in the top five best paying accounting jobs.


Conclusion

Entering the field of accounting offers a myriad of compelling reasons for aspiring professionals. Beyond its reputation for stability and demand, accounting provides individuals with a versatile career path that spans various industries and specialties. The continuous learning inherent in the profession ensures intellectual stimulation, while the potential for career growth is vast, from entry-level positions to executive roles like Chief Financial Officer. The global applicability of accounting skills, coupled with competitive salaries and the opportunity to contribute to strategic decision-making, positions accounting as an attractive and dynamic career choice. 

If you're ready to embark on a rewarding journey that not only fuels your passion for numbers but also opens doors to limitless career opportunities it just may be time to consider a fulfilling and dynamic career in accounting and finance. Especially as the average annual salaries in the US vary from $49,000 right up to $436,000.

A great way to get yourself higher up the salary ladder in the accounting world is to get an MBA or a BBA undergraduate degree from a US accredited university like Nexford.


FAQs

What is the highest paying accounting job in 2024? 

Traditionally accounting jobs pay well across the world and most certainly so in the US. One such job that seems to come up on all job boards is that of a Chief Financial Officer or CFO as it is widely known as. Get to this lofty position in a company and you could expect to earn on average $436,616.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, what's the job outlook of accounting jobs in 2024 and beyond? 

According to the department of labor statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations. They go on to say that about 126,500 openings for accountants and auditors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Is accounting a good career path? 

Yes, accounting is often considered a good career path for several reasons: Businesses and organizations of all sizes require accounting professionals to manage their financial affairs, so demand for accountants remains relatively stable, providing job security and opportunities for career growth.

What skills or expertise is required for high-paying accounting  jobs?

High-paying accounting jobs often require a combination of technical expertise, strong analytical skills, and broader business acumen. Here are the key skills and expertise that are highly valued in the accounting profession, particularly for roles with higher earning potential:

Many high-paying accounting jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Some positions, especially at more senior levels, may prefer or require advanced degrees such as a Master's in Accounting or an MBA. Obtaining relevant professional certifications like a master's degree may enhance your credibility and increases earning potential. Common certifications include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Proficiency in accounting principles, financial reporting, and compliance is fundamental. This includes a strong understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The ability to analyze financial data and derive meaningful insights is also crucial.

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High-paying roles often require professionals who can go beyond basic bookkeeping and financial reporting to provide strategic financial analysis. With the increasing use of technology in accounting, proficiency in accounting software, data analytics tools, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is valuable. Familiarity with tools like Excel, QuickBooks, and industry-specific software enhances efficiency. Finally, understanding the broader business context and being able to align financial strategies with organizational goals contributes to success in high-paying roles is an essential skill particularly for positions like Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Finance Director.

What qualifications are required for high paying accounting jobs?

High-paying accounting jobs often require a combination of education, professional certifications, and relevant experience. The specific qualifications can vary depending on the position, industry, and employer.

Here are common qualifications and credentials that are typically sought after for high-paying accounting roles:

A bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is a standard requirement for most high-paying accounting jobs. Some employers may prefer candidates with degrees from accredited institutions. A master's degree in accounting, finance, business administration (MBA), or a related field can enhance your qualifications, especially for senior-level roles. Having professional certifications can definitely be beneficial such as Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Certified Internal Auditor.  

Why is it beneficial for accountants to gain a BBA/MBA degree?

Obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can offer several benefits for accountants, enhancing their skills, qualifications, and career opportunities.

Here are some reasons why pursuing a BBA or MBA can be beneficial for accountants:

A BBA provides a broad foundation in various business disciplines, including management, marketing, finance, and operations. This well-rounded knowledge can be valuable for accountants, especially those aspiring to move into managerial roles. A BBA degree also allows accountants to develop a holistic understanding of how different business functions interconnect. This perspective can be beneficial for professionals aiming to contribute to strategic decision-making within an organization. Last but not least, the diverse skill set gained from a BBA can provide accountants with greater flexibility in their careers. When it comes to an MBA, because the program often focuses on developing leadership and management skills, accountants with that degree under the belt are better positioned to take on senior management roles, such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Finance Director.

MBAs emphasize strategic thinking and decision-making, so accountants with an MBA can contribute more effectively to an organization's overall strategy, linking financial considerations with broader business objectives. Last but not least, in many cases having an MBA is most times associated with higher earning potential. Executives and senior leaders, including CFOs, often hold advanced degrees, and an MBA can contribute to career advancement and increased compensation.

MBA or BBA programs will help accountants develop soft skills and competencies, to eventually rise to management levels, or even start their own business/practice to make even more money.


Learn how to develop the most in-demand skills for your future accounting career!

Discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills with our free report, and open the doors to a successful career. 

About the author
Joe McGoldrick
Joe McGoldrick

Known for strategy and attention to detail

Joe has more than 10 years of marketing experience, working within the public sector, client-side, and agency side.

He is passionate about using data and customer insights to improve marketing performance.

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